Getting out and about in Media City.
Yes, that's right gang. I'm back on the blog, miss me? I missed you too. I do hope you've found other blogs to fill your minds with in my absence.
It's been quite the year. A full time MA and keeping the VO biz going. Good job I'm an organised bod with a penchant for fourteen hour days and no social life. But it was all for the greater good. Nine months on and a new stage of life begins - me the voice coach. It's been going well so far. As well as work in various Drama Schools (RADA, Arts Ed, East 15) I've been collecting an eclectic bunch of 1-2-1 clients who I help with accents, voice for voiceover and general vocal assistance. Add to this some work with comedians for comedy pilots on TV and Radio, merging my two passions of comedy and voice, I don't think I can ask for much more.
Not one to exaggerate (I literally never do...) the course has been a life changer. Not only for me as a voice practitioner but as a person (#barf) Going back to studying at this age has been really hard and my brain has been put through its paces. But now, having survived, I've rediscovered a love for learning things. Some of which is science?! Whaaat? Yes. I know stuff about anatomy and muscles and acoustic science and things. Turns out learning IS fun if it is something that you're actually interested in. Who knew? And they have apps for literally everything these days. Which is both helpful and entertaining.
The main purpose of this blog is to spread the word about next months exciting project. Myself and fellow voice colleague and pal Laura Hunt are offering Pay-What-You-Can voice coaching to those at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. I'm up at the Fringe with a brilliant show, Welcome to Tiddleminster starring comedian and Twix fan Chris Cantrill, and want to lend a vocal hand to those in need. Be it help with an accent, some warm up ideas, vocal health advice or text work, if you or anyone you know is at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year, send them our way. (#festvoice) We are happy to help. We are accepting all cash donations and offers of drinks/show tickets as payment. Which isn't too shabby. Prices usually start at £40-50/hour so if you've got the budget for something that would be fabulous. But I will accept part payment in haggis and hog roast.
Anyway, a 12,000 word thesis awaits, which is more than I'm used to these days, damn Twitter and it's 140 character limit, so I shall sign off for now.
Keep an eye on #festvoice and #tiddleminster for all the shenanigans and goings on at the Festival.
Kind regards and thanks for reading.
I keep reading blogs about advice on peoples favourite vocal warm up exercises and tongue twisters, and I'm pretty sure I've yet to read the same suggestions twice. Which can mean only one thing. We're all running round like mental eejits making a load of weird and wonderful noises. And, would you want it any different? Weeeeellll, maybe the neighbours would. But what do they know except hoovering at 6 am, or playing Blink 182 on full blast when I'm trying to watch Eggheads quiz show. What is it...90s American niche rock music revival hour or something. AM I RIGHT?!
(*High fives herself. And the neighbour through the wall. But they couldn't hear it... #callback)
Now, for me it's not about being able to recite the whole of a Gilbert and Sullivan aria (...how cultured am I with that reference. I can tell your impressed.) Who has time for that every day/time you need to record something. It's about having a few short and memorable bits that you can call on immediately and discreetly to get the old mouth in a place where it's making sense and not tripping you up like you've been on the vodka cornflakes again. IT WAS ONE TIME, OK?
So, here are my favourite tongue twisters that I use every day. Picked up from various eccentric voice teachers and acting coaches over the years. Just say them loads, vary the speed, the energy, the diction, do them backwards, do them jumping up and down, do them lying on the ground, do them in the shower, whatever fits your schedule, after the usual sirening, trilling and scrunching your face up like you've had a bit of sour lemon muscular work out stuff.
- Popocatepetl (pop-a-kat-a-petal) - It's only a bloody active volcano in flipping Puebla, Mexico folks! How dramatic. And good for the 'P' plosive we're so fond of popping onto the mic. Say it over and over again. Fast, slow, backwards, any-which-way you can. Up and down a scale if it takes your fancy #showoff
- Mee Nee Lee Thee Vee Zee - This is very impressive once you can do it super fast. Do it slow at first, and gradually built up the speed. Once you've got this vowel sound down, work through the rest - May Nay Lay Thay Vay Zay, and Mah and Moh and Moo etc., then do it...BACKWARDS! So you get;
- Zee Vee Thee Lee Nee Mee etc., - "Say whaaaat?!" I know, Bob, but you'll get used to it.
- Read whatever you can lay your hands on in a weird way. Look around you, and pick up something with words on it. And, read them. But do it with a big face, or a small face, or a big mouth, or a small mouth, or half of your mouth, or holding on to one of your lips so the other one has to work harder. Or in your best Marlon Brandon impersonation. But just read it in a way which pushes your mouth away from it's usual 'hi how are ya' movements. I am particularly familiar with the ingredient contents of my bathroom products. Thems well big words, innit?! And we've all often got a bit of time to spare in there, haven't we? In terms of, you know, folding towels and what have you... (;))* (*That's a winky smily face in brackets, which is confusing because half of the winky smily face code is a bracket...technology eh? Close Brackets.)
So there you have it folks. You're bloody welcome. You might like them. You might not. Every voice is different. Find what's right for you. These are the ones that have stayed with me and proven to be winners in terms of performance, memory and lols.
Thank you to the voice tutors who may have equipped me with them over the years. Or maybe they came to me in a dream, who knows. But I put them out into the world for all to see!
Feel free to comment with your favourites. I'm all for mixing it up. Experimenting. Trying new things. Keys in the bowel. Or Bowl. No, wait... That's not right.